It’s 17th of March 1995. A Friday. I just came home after working 60 hours that week, riding my tiny 80ccm scooter through the towns and villages of Rhineland, reporting the news for a number of local radio stations. I am tired. I switch on the news and I actually remember watching this news story:
The German government released a report and warned of a “climate catastrophe”. If the yearly CO2 emissions remained at 1995 levels, then it would be impossible to prevent drastic climate change – within 25 years. The scientists ask for a tiny change: Just one percent reduction in CO2 emissions per year could help prevent climate catastrophe.
I shrugged and switched of the TV. I had other worries. I had only 10 Deutsche Mark left and needed to decide if I buy food or gasoline. If I still my hunger right now or if I will be able to work – so that I have money to live on next month.
It’s 19th of July 2021. A Monday, 26 years later. I am sitting at my PC in Düsseldorf and all those small towns and villages that I used to visit as a young radio journalist are flooded. Some of these villages are simply gone. The water destroyed them completely. When I drive through the streets of my home town I see mountains of ruined wash machines, refrigerators, chairs, beds, garden equipment and clothes pilled on the street. A woman is searching through the trash, looking at a coffee machine, wondering if it’s worth repairing. Thousands have lost their life savings. Over hundred have lost their lives. The flood took them.
25 years ago, we didn’t listen to the scientists. I didn’t listen. Frankly, I thought they were hysterical. Now we had heat waves of over 40 degrees Celsius in each of the last five years. This year the heat wave went further East, to the Baltics and Moscow, building a wall that the cooler air over central Europe couldn’t penetrate – so all that water came down on us. This is the new reality and the longer we refuse to adapt, the worse change will punish us.
Change is a Ninja. It sneaks up on you calmly and quietly. You might have an uncomfortable feeling, like somebody is watching you. The hair at the back of your neck might stand up a little – but not enough to really alarm you. Not enough to make you take action. Until change is finally right behind you. Breathing in your neck. And punches a knife between your rips. You go down in your own blood, wondering what suddenly happened.
I named my company “Immigrant Spirit”. I did this because I want to attract a certain type of people. People who embrace change. People who take control of their destiny. People who are willing to take a risk and create a better future for society and for themselves.
The price of inertia is too high to ignore.